How Your Credit Score Will Affect How Much House You’ll Be Able To Buy…

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Here’s How Your Credit Score Will Affect How Much House You’ll Be Able To Buy…

There is a new “buzzword” in the mortgage industry.

Actually, it’s two buzzwords: Credit Scoring.

In their never ending search to find an easier way to rate a person’s financial ability, mortgage companies are using a new system called credit scoring (Also called “FICO” scores – I won’t even tell you what that means).

When lenders pull up your credit report, they can look at
all of the debts that you have, how much you owe, how well you make your payments, and many other things like if you’ve had any bankruptcies within the last several years.

With your credit report, lenders now get a “credit score” which takes all of this information and creates a “credit score” for you. This credit score is a number that lenders use to decide which types of loans that you will be able to get and be eligible for.

As with all new things, there is controversy over these credit scores.

Some types of loans require that you have a certain credit score to get the loan – no exceptions. And credit scores change over time. As a matter of fact, just applying for credit can lower your credit score.

Now that you know what a
credit score is, here’s how
to make sure you have the
best one possible.

First of all, don’t apply for any new credit cards or consumer loans.

Don’t go down to the furniture store and take them up on the “No interest, no payments, no nothin’ for one year” financing program — and of all things, don’t go out and finance a car!

You can do all of these things after you buy your house and get your mortgage, but for your own sake, don’t do it before. Buying things on credit not only hurts your credit score, but it also leaves less money for you to use as a house payment.

And lenders look at this figure also to determine how much money they will lend you, and how much they will charge you to lend it.

So wait until after you’ve bought your home and moved in to get that new couch or big screen TV– And there is another reason to wait.

After you buy your home, you can get a loan for up to 100% of your home’s value to buy whatever you want.

And when you get a loan against your home in the US, all of the interest you pay is tax-deductible!

How To Save Thousands Of Dollars In Interest and Pay Your Mortgage Off Years Sooner…

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Here’s A Way You Can Save Thousands Of Dollars In Interest and Pay Your Mortgage Off Years Sooner!

Most people think when you get a mortgage you’re stuck with it for 30 years, but what they don’t realize is by using a couple of easy and painless ways to make some extra principle payments you can cut years off the life of your mortgage and save thousands of dollars in needless interest costs.Here are a couple of easy strategies you can use:

1. Round up to the nearest hundred

This is an easy strategy to take advantage of, and the results are dramatic!

Let’s say you have a mortgage of $100,000 over 30 years at 8% interest. The monthly payments would be about $734 dollars a month. Now, let’s see what would happen if you rounded that payment to the next $100 by increasing your payment by $66 extra each month.

Just this one simple strategy will save you over $48,000 in interest payments over the life of your mortgage, but it will also shorten the length of your mortgage by 7 1/2 years!

2. Use Your Income Tax Refund To Make One Time Pre-Payments

Let’s say you have that same $100,000 mortgage, and you have a $1000 tax refund this year. [very possible with your new homeowner deductions] If you take that $1000 and apply it to your mortgage…you’ll save over $8600 and shorten your mortgage by 1 year and 1 month! Not bad for a simple one time pre-payment.

3. Start Out With a 15 Year Mortgage

One of the best things you can do — if you can afford it — is to start out with a 15 year mortgage instead of 30. It’s actually not that much more expensive, and the interest you save is incredible.

With the same $100,000 mortgage at 8% over 15 years, your payment would be about $200 more ($955) and you would be paying $72,017 in interest over the life of your mortgage instead of $164,160!

That’s worth considering.

To try our online mortgage calculator here.

Don’t Get Stuck With A Money Pit! Home Inspector Reveals 6 Signs That Could Mean Expensive Trouble…

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Don’t Get Stuck With A Money Pit!
Home Inspector Reveals 6 Signs That Could Mean Expensive Trouble…

Most people think a house that has expensive defects will be very obvious to detect, but often the most expensive defects are hidden and take a little more investigating.Here are six signs to look for when inspecting a house…

1. Roof

Roof problems usually take the form of leaks. These can be difficult to spot from the outside. In fact, the surface of a roof may look perfectly sealed. However, if you view the roof from the attic, you may quickly spot water marks where it is leaking.

2. Plumbing System

A home has two water systems. The first brings fresh water in; the second takes sewage out. Both are vital to your enjoyment of the home, and if either breaks down, repairs can be costly. That’s why it’s very important that you have a good sense of the condition of the homes water systems before you buy.

3. Electrical Systems

In a modern home, having a working electrical system is absolutely essential. You want to have enough power to operate all your appliances plus any tools you have plus your lights, all at the same time. Also…you want to be assured that you aren’t going to get a shock — or worse — from your wall plugs or light fixtures.

4. Heating and Cooling Systems

Like the plumbing and electrical systems, the heater and air conditioner are vital to any home — and they can be expensive to fix if they break down. A thorough home inspection will include an examination of these for problems.

5. Bad Paint and Wood Rot

The face a home presents to the world is composed of its exterior material and the paint that goes on top of it. Inside, the walls are usually made of drywall. By carefully examining the paint coat you can often determine not only whether the home needs cosmetic work but also whether there’s an underlying problem. When inspecting it’s important to take the time to look at both the outside and the inside paint. Check several places on several walls. You can learn a lot with just your eyes and a screwdriver for poking.

6. Cracks and other scary indicators

The foundation holds up a home. Quite literally, if your home has a bad foundation, it could fall down. More likely, however, a bad foundation means cracks will appear in walls, doors won’t close properly and floors will be uneven. This condition could get progressively worse, lasting for decades, before there is any serious threat of the structure itself collapsing. Nevertheless, a bad foundation is a serious problem for any property and must be assessed carefully. It might easily be the reason that a buyer could demand and a seller could agree to a lower price, if not direct corrective work.

Why Buyers Love Model Homes And How To Make Your House Show Like One…

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Why Buyers Love Model Homes And How To Make Your House Show Like One

One of the major factors in getting your house to sell quickly is simply put; make it attractive.

Most buyers select their home based on emotion and then justify the decision with facts, so it’s important to make the house inviting and pleasant.

Yours is not the only property the prospective buyer will see. You are competing with model homes, homes that have been professionally decorated and homes that have no children, not pets and Mr. and Mrs. Perfection as owners.

Start with the outside.

Are shrubs overgrown? Oil in the driveway? How does the grass look? Do the flower beds need weeding and mulching? Try very hard to see your grounds through an independent observer’s eyes. Trim the shrubs or plant new ones if they are lacking. Houses with no landscaping in the front lose thousands of dollars of value in the mind of the buyer. Adding a few well-placed blooming flowers also adds appeal.

If the grass in the front yard is particularly non-existent, consider sodding. Do some price shopping on this; sod is not cheap but there are some good prices available. Let’s say it cost $600 to sod the front yard, but your house payment is $800 per month. If you save one month of selling time, you are $200 ahead. (By the way, you can probably get away without sodding the back yard.)

Kitty litter in the driveway will absorb the oil and grease stains. (Then remove the kitty litter.)

Next, go around and clean up the yard. Remove any toys, tools and/or building supplies. Here’s the acid test: if you don’t see it in a model home yard, don’t have it in yours. That goes for the bag of charcoal by the grill, too; however, the (non-rusty) grill can stay. If your grill has rusted, remove the rust spots by scrubbing with a wire brush or with coarse steel wool dipped in kerosene. After the rust is removed, clean the entire piece with mineral spirits. When the grill is completely dry, paint with a brush or spray paint.

Now look at the exterior.

Is the paint fading or chipping? Is the color outdated or too personal? Is mildew or mold growing?

If the house needs painting, choose a neutral color. White, cream (not yellow) and light gray are good colors for appealing to most people. If you want some ideas for paint combinations, go look at 3 or 4 model home communities that cost $20,000-$50,000 more than your neighborhood and copy one of them.

One last note on painting: always give the front door and door trim a fresh coat of paint or stain even if you paint nothing else. Buyers stand at the front door waiting to get in; give them a good first impression.

Now let’s go inside.

Go through room by room and pack up 30% of the accessories. If you doubt the wisdom of this, go back to those model homes and compare their countertops with yours, their coffee tables and end tables with yours. See what I mean?

The cardinal rule is this: “The way you live in a home and the way you sell a home are two different things.” I know this will take some time and may seem like a nuisance, but remember you are in competition with other properties. He who wins the Good Housekeeping Award probably sells his house first… and for the highest dollar. Also look at it this way, you are going to be moving anyway, so just consider this advance packing. By the way, label the moving boxes and stack them easily in the garage – floor to ceiling.

Specifically, pack any collections and family photos you have displayed. Too much of your personality in evidence does not allow for the potential buyer to “mentally move in.”

Pack everything from the cabinets and all closets that you do not need on a routine basis. You want to create the perception of roominess. In the linen closet, remove everything but a week’s worth of linens. Fold them neatly and color coordinate them. I’m not kidding; this is the stuff sales are made of.

In the clothes closets, remove out-of-season clothes. Pack them away and put them in the garage. Arrange your shoes neatly. Hang your clothes by category: all blouses together, all shirts together and so on.

Now take another walk around the house. Are there rooms that are cluttered with too much furniture? Remove extra chairs, side tables and maybe even the 100″ sofa which is really too big for the room. (Notice how decorators use small pieces of furniture.)

Minor redecorating is recommended. If your carpet and vinyl are outdated colors or style, change them. Off-white carpet and vinyl are best; this makes the rooms look larger and cleaner. If the existing carpet padding is 5/8″ thick or more and is not worn down, reuse it (unless the pets have done a number of it). If replacing the pad, select a very thick one and then install just a modest grade of carpeting. The feel will be plush and expensive but it’s not.

If carpeting is in good condition and neutral in color, have it cleaned.

If your vinyl flooring is worn or outdated, replace it with off-white vinyl. If the vinyl is in good condition and light colored, scrub it thoroughly paying special attention to buildup of dirt or wax around the baseboards and in corners.

Off-white painted walls are best.

If painting is required, use flat latex except in kitchens and baths where you will use semi-gloss latex. If walls are dirty, experiment to see if scrubbing them is easier than painting.

If you have wallpaper, make sure it is clean and up to date. If not, strip it. (Hint: some wallpaper is easy to strip if first sprayed with window cleaner.) After stripping it, either paint or re-wallpaper, depending on the condition of the walls. Sponge painting is also an easy, attractive alternative.

Repair badly cracked plaster, loose door knobs and crooked light fixtures. Correct faulty plumbing. Leaky faucets can discolor porcelain and call attention to plumbing defects. To remove mineral stains from such leaks, pour hydrogen peroxide on the stain, then sprinkle with cream of tartar. Leave this for 30 minutes before scrubbing. Bad stains may require 2 or 3 applications.

Next, make your house sparkle.

If you do not have time for the inclination, hire someone to thoroughly clean the house. Clean windows inside and out. Clean with white vinegar using newspaper. Clean mini-blinds, curtains and drapes.

In the kitchen, clean appliances inside and out. Remove grease and grime by scrubbing with undiluted vinegar. Scrub the inside of the refrigerator with baking soda; not only does it not scratch, but it removes odors. Get rid of kitchen odors by pouring hot salt water down the drain twice a week. Grind citrus peelings or apple cores in the garbage disposal. Leave a small uncovered container of vinegar in the corner of your kitchen counter.

Have bathrooms scrubbed to pass a white glove inspection. If tubs or sinks are rusting, have them reglazed. Clean grouting of the tiles with Tilex. Recaulk the tub and shower. Clean fixtures with white vinegar. If you are at home, light a small candle for atmosphere and pleasant (not overpowering) aroma. Hang a set of designer bath towels on the most prominent rack complete with verbal instructions to your family not to use them! (Remember, you’re in show biz now.)

Pets should be out of sight and out of smell.

If you have pets, you need to get rid of pet odors and it is recommended that the pets themselves be kept out of the way and out of the house during showings, if possible. Some people are uneasy around animals and they may detract from the prospect’s attention. Getting pets out of the way is, unfortunately, much easier than getting pet odors out of the way.

If flooring has been repeatedly stained with animal urine, you’ll probably have to replace it to get rid of the smell. And that means the carpet, the pad, the carpet strips and the baseboard trim, the sub flooring will need to be treated to kill the odor. Put a small uncovered dish of vinegar in the room where your pet sleeps; this will remove “doggy” smells. Of course, put the dish off the floor so the dog doesn’t drink the vinegar! To absorb odors in the cat litter box, add a cup of baking soda to the litter.

Food smells can work for you or against you. Baking bread, cookies and pies all smell good. Spaghetti sauce is a delicious smell. Frying fish or liver and onions is objectionable. And of course, now days the smell of cigarette smoke is offensive to many. If your house has an unpleasant smell, use scented candles or fragrant fresh flowers.

Finally, tackle that thing called the garage.

This area is the catch-all where everything goes that has no place to go, so it is usually a mess. Therefore, if your storage area is neat, one would surmise that you must really take good care of the whole house. Now you are going to say I am becoming extreme, but believe me, this works every time. Empty everything out of your garage. Hose down the floor, if there are stains remaining, paint it porch gray. Paint the garage walls off-white using a flat latex paint. If the hot water heater is in the garage, wipe it down so it looks brand new. Polish the copper pipes.

Now – after the paint is dry – put everything back in the garage piece by piece. Throw out what you will not be taking with you. Pack what you can and add to the stack of neatly labeled boxes. Then organize what’s left. If you have a storage shed, organize it the same way and if needs a coat of paint or stain, do it. An open bag of charcoal will absorb moisture in the storage shed.

If you have too much “stuff” for the shed, rent a small storage unit. Un-cluttering can make all the difference in the world.

Lighting plays an important part.

During the day have all your curtains and blinds open. If the day is cloudy, turn on all lamps as well.

At dusk, put blinds down but leave them open. Leave drapes open. Turn on all lamps and overhead lights.

At night, use the same lighting formula as above but close all the blinds, curtains and drapes. Adding candlelight is very effective.

Turn off the television during all showings of your house as they are distracting. Put on soft background music. Once you have “set the stage”, leave the house for the agent to show it. Prospects can more easily look at the house with no distractions. They will also feel freer to ask questions of the agent. Finally, buyers can mentally move in better without the current owners around.

Here are 5 Expensive Mistakes Home Sellers Make…

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Here are 5 Expensive Mistakes Home Sellers Make…

Mistake #1:
Basing price on needs or emotion rather than market value.
Many times, people make their pricing decisions based on how much they paid for or invested into their home. This can be an expensive mistake. Overpriced homes take longer to sell and eventually net the seller less money. Consult with a professional real estate agent. They can assist you in pricing your home correctly from the beginning.

Mistake #2:
Failing to “Show-Case” their home.
First impressions are the most important. Experience shows that for every $100 in repairs that your home needs, a buyer will deduct $300-$500 from their offer. Thoroughly clean and prepare your home before you put it on the market if you want top dollar.

Mistake #3:
Signing a listing contract with no way out.
Most traditional real estate agents want you to sign a listing contract with no way out. When you list your home with me, you can cancel your listing agreement at any time, no questions asked.

Mistake #4:
Choosing the wrong agent for the wrong reasons.
Many homeowners list their home with the agent who tells them the highest price. Or they list with the agent who works for the biggest company. You need to choose the agent with the best marketing plan and track record to sell your home.

Mistake #5:
Not knowing all of their legal rights and obligations.
Real estate law is complex. The contract that you will sign when selling your home is legally binding. Small items that are neglected in a contract can wind up costing you thousands of dollars. You need to consult a knowledgeable professional who understands the in’s and out’s of a real estate transaction.

Here are 5 Expensive Mistakes Home Buyers Make…

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Here are 5 Expensive Mistakes Home Buyers Make…

Mistake #1:
Not knowing how much mortgage they can afford before they make an offer.
The easiest way to avoid this mistake is to get pre-approved for a mortgage by a lender so you know in advance exactly how much you can afford. Most pre-approvals are free and it will give you a basis to make a more informed purchasing decision when you find the house you like.

Mistake #2:
Not realizing in advance who the real estate agent represents.
Most people think that the agent they are working with is working for them. But unless they are working as your buyer representative, they represent the seller. There are different types of agency relationships you can have with a Realtor, make sure that you are clear on your options.

Mistake #3:
Not realizing that the wrong mortgage can cost thousands of dollars in needless interest and taxes.
Check with your accountant before you make your final decision on which mortgage you are going to choose. Your CPA will be able to tell you what the long term effects will be on your income, your taxes and the equity you build in your home over time.

Most people aren’t aware that with a standard 30 year mortgage they will be paying two and a half times the amount of the mortgage in payments. With some planning in advance and a simple strategy they can cut the amount of interest they pay dramatically and own their homes sooner.

Mistake #4:
Not discovering hidden defects before they buy a home.
One of the most expensive mistakes is also one of the easiest to avoid, by having a professional pre-purchase home inspection. Don’t get stuck with a money pit. The cost of a professional home inspection is usually a few hundred dollars, but the peace of mind it can give you and the expense you can avoid needlessly is in the thousands of dollars.

Mistake #5:
Not knowing how much their credit can affect their ability to buy or refinance a home.
Before you buy a home, many of the clouds on your credit history can be cleared up or even eliminated. Your mortgage professional can help you review and prepare your credit file in advance.

How You Can Sell Your House In As Little As 24hrs — Without Ever Putting It On The Market!

The Don Miller Group-Century 21 Executives Realty | Don Miller- Realtor | 250-550-2125

Here’s How You Can Sell Your House In As Little As 24hrs – Without Ever Putting It On The Market!

There is a principle in psychology called scarcity — it’s the desire that’s in all of us to want something that we can’t have.

There are some strategic ways that this principle can be applied to a real estate situation.

That’s right I said applied — you can actually control it..

Often, the illusion of scarcity can be orchestrated and often appears in real estate situations without people even knowing that it’s there.

Have you ever heard of a situation where a home was on the market and more than one person was interested in it?

In most cases like this, the house will sell for more than the owners are even asking for the house — and the buyers feel great about it because they won. Someone else wanted the house, but they got it.

Situations like this are called the auction effect.

To create this powerful situation requires creating an environment where as many buyers as possible are made aware of the property at the same time and under the right circumstances.

As you know now, most of the time when a property is advertised in a traditional way, it’s almost impossible to create this kind of environment, because your property is just another property on the market.

You need to be able to reach buyers in a way that you are presented as “new information”…

One of the things I do to create this situation is profiling your house in my MarketWatch database before you even put it on the market.

I started looking for the buyer for your house about 180 days ago and I keep in touch with these buyers through an exclusive bi-weekly report that I send them to keep them up-to-date on all the new houses that come on the market — and new houses that will be coming on the market soon that they would have no other way of finding out about.

We may be able to find the buyer for your house without ever having to put it “on the market”!

By the way, Scarcity is just one of the six weapons of influence that can be skillfully applied to the marketing of your home.

I’ll tell you about the others when we get together…